Dating has been around for nearly as long as man has. Although over the years, our requirements for a relationship has become focused more on someone’s personality and interests, rather than whether or not they could protect us from a sabretooth tiger. Throughout the twentieth century, the ways in which we dated, continued to develop alongside technology. And it is only within the last decade that dating has changed drastically again with the invention of dating apps. These apps typically use geolocation technology to find potential matches that fit your requirements in your area. The road that has taken us to this current state of dating is a long and interesting one.
Lonely Hearts Columns
In 1695, an advert appeared in the popular magazine called A Collection For Improvement Of Husbandry and Trade, a young woman stated that she was seeking a “gentleman about 30 Years of Age, that says he had a Very Good Estate” who sought a “Good Young Gentle- woman that has a Fortune of 3,000 pounds or thereabouts”. This is the first known record of a lonely hearts advert in Britain. A lonely heart advert was a way for someone who was seeking a relationship to list their own qualities as well as what they were looking for in a partner in hopes somebody reading the magazine who shares their desires and values would reply. This is not too dissimilar to online dating profiles today and would essentially become the later template for online dating. Lonely hearts adverts would often have their own column in a newspaper or magazine, and within 1870 and 1900, 20 newspapers were created that were dedicated entirely to lonely hearts ads. These adverts would eventually wain in popularity as the 20th century continued, although there are some columns still going to this day if you fancy giving them a try!
Computer Assisted Matchmaking
Although our recent concept of online dating through the use of apps has only been solidified in the past ten years, companies have been using computers to aid with matchmaking since the 1950s. In 1959 as part of a class project at Stafford, Jim Harvey and Phil Fialer founded the Happy Families Planning Services which used a questionnaire and an IBM 650 Magnetic Drum Data-Processing Machine to help match those seeking relationships. Based on this concept, the St. James Computer Dating Service founded by Joan Ball, becomes the first commercially run computer-generated matchmaking company in 1964. These types of dating services would start to become more commonplace as the twentieth century went on.
By the 1990s, computers were now becoming more commonplace and were affordable to have at home. This allowed for the introduction of online dating websites that would become popular during this time period. Kiss.com became the first-ever dating website in 1994 with Match.com following shortly after in 1995. These became our modern templates for technology-assisted dating that we recognize today. On these websites you created a profile, filling out personal information such as your age and religion which could be filtered in a search feature to help yourself and others narrow down their preferences to find someone who fits their desires. During the 90s and 2000s, dating sites would continue to grow in number and popularity as the Internet become more readily available across an increasing number of devices.
Grindr became the first dating app of its kind in 2009 by using geolocation technology to find suitable matches near to the user. It was designed to be used by those in the LGBT community, primarily gay men. This change in technology also marked a change in society as acceptance for LGBT couples has increased. Lots of similarly designed apps that also used geolocation were soon to follow including Tinder in 2012 which has since become the most recognized dating platform. With most people nowadays owning their own smartphones, you can now date online from wherever you can carry your phone. So, if you’re struggling to find the one, why not download one of the many apps available, google some cheesy pickup lines or love quotes and sayings for him or her and see where the world of online dating takes you!